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Retired Anas returns after Stimac names him in preparatory camp

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Anas Edathodika (left) retired after India's first round exit at the AFC Asian Cup.

New Delhi: New Indian football coach Igor Stimac has named central defender Anas Edathodika in his list of 35 probables for the Hero Intercontinental Cup’s preparatory camp, to be held in Mumbai from June 25.

Anas, who had announced his retirement from international football after India’s first round exit at the 2019 AFC Asian Cup has said to the All India Football Federation’s (AIFF) website that he had “received a message from Coach Stimac”, after which he “contemplated coming out of international retirement.”

“Coach Stimac has shown his faith in me, and it’s my turn to repay him,” Anas said.

“Coach messaged me to join the upcoming camp. Honestly, I was taken aback. Later Venky-bhai (assistant coach Venkatesh Shanmugam) shared all details, and I just can’t wait to join the camp,” he stated.

“The respect I earned while playing for the national team is something which has pushed me to challenge myself again,” Anas added.

“At the moment, I’m just focussing on the camp, and not thinking about making the cut to the team at all. Whatever comes my way, I’ll accept it,” he admitted.

“I’m equally passionate, and focused like I was a year back. I’m ready to push myself more. Every coach has a different philosophy, and see the game differently. We had some great results before, and now all the boys whom I have spoken to, have lauded coach Stimac heavily.”

The other first-timers in the camp (under Coach Stimac) include defenders Sarthak Golui, and Narender Gehlot, and midfielders Mandar Rao Desai, Ashique Kuruniyan and Nikhil Poojary.

The Intercontinental Cup will be Stimac’s second assignment since taking over as India’s head coach. India finished third in the recent King’s Cup, where the Stimac-mentored India defeated hosts Thailand.

The Hero Intercontinental Cup will be held at the EKA Arena in Ahmedabad from July 7-19.

Defending champions India begin their campaign on the opening day against a strong Tajikistan on July 7, with DPR Korea, and Syria being the other two teams in the four-nation competition. Every team will be playing each other once, with the top two advancing to the final.

The probables list: GOALKEEPERS: Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, Amrinder Singh, Kamaljit Singh, Vishal Kaith; DEFENDERS: Pritam Kotal, Nishu Kumar, Rahul Bheke, Salam Ranjan Singh, Sandesh Jhingan, Adil Khan, Anas Edathodika, Anwar Ali (Jr), Sarthak Golui, Subhasish Bose, Narender Gahlot; MIDFIELDERS: Udanta Singh, Jackichand Singh, Brandon Fernandes, Anirudh Thapa, Raynier Fernandes, Pronay Halder, Rowllin Borges, Vinit Rai, Sahal Abdul, Amarjit Singh, Lallianzuala Chhangte, Mandar Rao Desai, Ashique Kuruniyan, Nikhil Poojary, Michael Soosairaj; FORWARDS: Balwant Singh, Sunil Chhetri, Jobby Justin, Farukh Choudhary, Manvir Singh.

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Coutinho stars as Brazil thump Bolivia in Copa America opener

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Brazil lacked a cutting edge in the absence of star forward Neymar.

Sao Paulo (Brazil): Philippe Coutinho scored two second-half goals as Brazil kicked off their Copa America with a 3-0 victory over Bolivia.

On Friday, the Barcelona attacker netted twice inside five minutes before substitute Everton put the result beyond doubt with a long-range strike at Sao Paulo’s Morumbi Stadium, reports Xinhua news agency.

Despite the comprehensive scoreline, the five-time world champions were below their best against an organised if unthreatening Bolivia outfit.

For long periods, Brazil lacked a cutting edge in the absence of star forward Neymar, who was ruled out of the tournament last week because of an ankle injury.

“It was a tough match for us,” Coutinho told reporters after the game. “At half-time, the manager (Tite) asked us to focus more and to control the ball better. We managed to do that. The first goal changed the course of the match.”

Brazil dominated possession early but struggled to find ways past a resolute Bolivia defence. Roberto Firmino and Thiago Silva had early chances from corners while Coutinho failed to make clean contact with a header after a Filipe Luis cross.

Tite opted against making changes at half-time and his faith was rewarded almost immediately.

Argentinian referee Nestor Pitana consulted the video assistant referee before ruling that Adrian Jusino used his left hand to obstruct Richarlison’s chipped shot. Coutinho then dispatched the resultant spot-kick into the bottom left corner.

The goal quickly released the pressure on Brazil and the Selecao netted again four minutes later when Coutinho headed in after a precise cross from his former Liverpool teammate Firmino.

Everton, introduced as an 85th-minute substitute for David Neres, completed the rout with a fine solo goal, five minutes from time.

The Gremio forward cut in from the left before smashing a low drive from the edge of the box that curled into the bottom right corner of Carlos Lampe’s goal.

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Star Sports renews exclusive broadcast rights for EPL till 2022

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Star Sports will broadcast over 250 Premier League games LIVE across the network and beam all 380 games LIVE on its digital platform Hotstar

Mumbai: For the past two decades, Star Sports, India’s leading sports broadcaster has continued to entertain football fans in India with top flight English football. On Friday, Star Sports announced that it will continue its partnership with Premier League for the next three years running up to the 2021-22 season.

The renewal reinforces Star Sports’ and Hotstar’s commitment to football in India, with the best of global and Indian football action. Star Sports will broadcast more than 250 Premier League games LIVE across the network and beam All 380 games LIVE on Hotstar.

Commenting on the partnership, Gautam Thakar, CEO, Star Sports, said, “We are excited to continue our partnership with the Premier League and are proud to showcase the best of football on Star Sports. As the home of sports, we are delighted to bring the Premier league to passionate fans in India and look forward to many fantastic seasons of football in the years ahead.”

Premier League director of broadcasting, Paul Molnar said, “We look forward to continuing to work with Star to make the best Premier League action available to the many passionate football fans in India who closely follow our clubs and the competition.”

The world’s most watched league will continue to showcase the talent of Kevin De Bruyne (Man City), Mo Salah (Liverpool), Paul Pogba (Man United), Alexandre Lacazette (Arsenal), Harry Kane (Tottenham) on the field with Pep Guardiola (Man City), Jurgen Klopp (Liverpool), Unai Emery (Arsenal) and Ole Gunnar Solskjær (Man United) orchestrating the team movements from off the field. The quality of play continues to get better in the league with promoted teams putting up a challenge.

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Football Lounge

Casillas yet to decide on future

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Iker Casillas suffered a heart attack recently.

Madrid: Former Spain goalkeeper Iker Casillas on Thursday said he had not yet decided whether he would retire from the sport after suffering a heart attack amid rumours in several Portuguese newspapers that he would hang up his gloves before the start of the next season.

Cassilas, on his Twitter account, reshared a previous tweet in which he said he was yet undecided about his future in the sport.

In the original tweet, published just over two weeks after his heart attack on May 1, the former Real Madrid goalie said: “Retirement, there will be a day that I’ll have to retire. Let me announce this when the moment comes. For now … everyone relax! I had an appointment yesterday with Dr. Filipe Macedo. Everything is ok. This is great news that I would like to share with all of you!”

In his retweet, he said: “The same from this tweet from one month ago, except the part of the meeting with the Doctor. More than anything because my appointment is tomorrow. Big hug to everyone.”

The former Real Madrid captain suffered a heart attack during a training session with his current team, FC Porto, casting major doubt about his ability to continue in the sport.

Casillas’ personal situation got even more complicated when his wife, journalist Sara Carbonero, announced that she went through a malignant ovarian tumour surgery on May 21.

On June 6, various Portuguese newspapers said that Casillas met Pinto da Costa, President of FC Porto, where he was offered the possibility to continue working in the club, but as part of the technical staff.

Casillas made his professional debut with Real Madrid under then coach, Welshman John Benjamin Toshack, against Athletic Bilbao in September 1999 in San Mames at the age of 19.

At Real Madrid, Casillas was in the team that won the UEFA Champions League three times, LaLiga five times, the Copa del Rey twice, the Spanish Super Cup four times and the FIFA Club World Cup twice.

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